Community gathers to start year with prayer

Published 9:52 am Monday, January 9, 2017

A small group gathered Saturday morning to cover Winchester and Clark County in prayer.

For the last nine years, Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner and Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham have teamed up to start an annual community prayer service on the first Saturday of the year.

“It’s important that we have God in our community,” Branham said. “What better way than to have our local leaders join with the community of faith. God willing, we’ll be here again next year.”

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This year, the event was at Cornerstone Christian Church and several dozen people attended ranging from children to some in their 80s.

“This is a wonderful day of prayer,” Burtner said. “It makes a statement to the community at large that all things begin with our spiritual life and it begins with prayer.”

During the hour-long service, several public leaders and pastors took turns leading prayer for segments of the community from first responders to educators to the military and the destitute.

School board member Gordon Parido started by praying for everyone within the school district, because everyone has a role in a child’s education regardless of their job.

“They can reach out in a spiritual way to meet a secular need,” he said. My prayer is we look at our educators and keep encouraging them. We are all one body in Christ and we all believe together.”

“As long as we believe in Jesus Christ and that he is the Son of God, church labels don’t matter,” said Church of the Living God pastor Mike Smith as he prayed for the churches in Clark County.”

First responders took a new importance following the airport shooting in Florida.

“I feel like today is the most important session I’ve attended,” Grace Bible Church pastor Lee Cruse said while praying for the first responders. With the loom of what happened (Friday) in Fort Lauderdale, these folks are out on the front line for us. Every day they go out. I guarantee there are spouses and kids who are worried about their mothers and fathers.”

For those in need, there were prayers for both side of the equation: for those on the receiving end and those making the decisions about what aid to provide and how to meet people’s needs.

“How do we help?” Christview Christian Church pastor Forrest Hahn said. “Is what we’re doing the right thing? It’s easy to give money and not give with your heart.”

One of the most important things, Rev. Raymond Smith of Broadway Christian Church said, is believing what you pray for.

“If you don’t believe what you’re praying for, you’re not praying,” Smith said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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